Monday's gossip column - transfers and rumours
Manchester City hope a tribunal will act quickly to resolve a dispute with striker Mario Balotelli. The Italian has refused to accept a £340,000 club fine for missing 11 of 54 games last year through suspension and City want a decision before January so they can sell the striker. Both AC Milan and Inter Milan are interested in the 22-year-old.
Barcelona want Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is on loan at Atletico Madrid. Chelsea bought the 20-year-old Belgian for £8m from Genk in 2011 and immediately sent him out on loan to the Spanish side.
Birmingham manager Lee Clark has said Liverpool and Everton will have to pay more than £6m to buy 19-year-old England goalkeeper Jack Butland.
Brazil midfielder Paulinho has pledged to stay at Corinthians rather than move back to Europe. The 24-year-old has previously been linked with Club World Cup final opponents Chelsea as well as Manchester City.
Norwich hope to buy striker Craig Mackail-Smith, 28, and midfielder Liam Bridcutt, 23, from Championship side Brighton.
Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini's likely lengthy suspension, after his clashes with Ryan Shawcross during the weekend draw with Stoke, has increased his chances of being sold in the January transfer window. Chelsea and Paris St Germain have been linked with a £30m move.
GLOBAL GOSSIP (sourced by BBC monitoring)
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has admitted that striker Robinho is looking to return to Brazil. Sao Paulo, Flamengo and Santos have all shown interest in bringing Robinho home, although the 10m Euro price tag, which Allegri is insisting on, may get in the way.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will stay at Juventus for at least two more seasons in a compromise agreement, according to Tuttosport. The Italian number one, 34, wanted to commit to just one season, while the club wanted him to sign for three more years.
Nicolas Anelka is negotiating his departure from Shanghai Shenua, less than one year after joining the Chinese club as player and assistant manager. French paper L'Equipe says the former Chelsea and Arsenal striker, 33, is willing to forgo next year's salary (around 7m Euros) if the club let him go on a free transfer.
Fellaini, 25, could be punished with a nine-game ban following three separate incidents at the Britannia Stadium.
The Belgian midfielder faces a club fine of two weeks' wages - up to £150,000 - from furious manager David Moyes but the Football Association is likely to ban him for three games.
Newcastle are set to be without injured playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa, 25, for the Christmas period.
Norwich's Blackburn-born winger Anthony Pilkington, 24, is set to play for the Republic of Ireland rather than the country of his birth.
Reading manager Brian McDermott has no plans to bring Wally Downes back to the club, despite the former Brentford boss leaving his job as first-team coach at West Ham.
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has wasted no time in endearing himself to his new supporters by singing "Glory Glory Man United" in front of his team-mates at the club's Christmas party.
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Comment number 69.Dave
18th December 2012 - 9:10
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